Producers in Palestine Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose

Producers in Palestine Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose

In keeping with the general theme of this new year of 2020 and it’s “visions” I thought it might be interesting to investigate some of the items for sale in our shop in George Street, Edinburgh, with “recycling, reusing and repurposing” in mind- not to mention replacing.

The most obvious place to start might be the olive wood carvings traditionally made from the prunings of the olive producing trees “that must be dried for at least a year before using” thus “ensuring environmental sustainability”. Hadeel also supports ” Keep Hope Alive”, an “olive tree planting project coordinated in the area by the YMCA” which helps to replace those trees lost through disease or destruction.

The olive leaf itself is re-used as an individual and original cast for each unique piece of “beautifully handcrafted sterling silver jewellery” from the “Peace Next to your Hear” collection by Al Zaytouna, Bethlehem.

Olive oil top quality for drizzling and dipping is made from the harvest of olives as it has been for many centuries, and soaps are made from the “oil which cannot be used for food” but can be reused into wonderful creamy hand soaps using “traditional methods in Nablus” which are then “cleaned, packed and exported” by Sindyanna of Galilee. Other ingredients such as honey, pomegranate, lemon, sage and Dead Sea mud can be incorporated into this natural material (repurposed if you like).

Wood pulp and paper/card is also recycled into attractive paper gift bags and notebooks at the Oasis Workshop in Beit Sahour offering “meaningful work” and “dignity” to adults with special needs aged from 18-45 years old.

Ma’an lil-Hayat, or “Together for Life” is an organisation set up for “people with and without intellectual disabilities” which recycles Bethlehem sheep’s wool by “cleaning, carding, dyeing, felting and drying” before remaking into felted wool ornaments, nativity sets and one of my favourites “Wallace and Grommit go to Bethlehem/Farmageddan” white and black sheep. In fact, I know it is a bit sacrilegious but I use one as a pincushion up in the western Isles and so far my pins there have not rusted which is amazing as everything else does!!

Finally I have chosen the art glass, lovingly made from broken fragments of glass and bottles picked by human hands “from among the rubble” into angels and flowers “by some of the poorest of the poor in the Bethlehem region”. Hung by a window or glazed boor, you can see the colour and light shining through reflecting the hope and transformation of these seemingly worthless materials into “a beautiful and whole creation”.

Glass Angel

So you see, most of the goods for sale in our shop have vision at their very heart. Every hand stitched, crafted item is remade from a basic piece of cloth which itself might be remade from cotton or linen or wood fibres, much in the tradition of Joseph’s coat of many colours, a loving patchwork of materials and embroidery continuing that cultural inheritance and identity, reflecting our need to identify with others and our surroundings – the source of our very being.

– Fiona Grossart